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Biden's first - and maybe last - gulf oil sale draws big bids

Oil companies spent $191.7 million buying drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday during a robust government auction that underscored the industry's appetite for new crude as the White House seeks to shifts the U.S. away from fossil fuels.

The Kobe Chouest platform supply vessel sits anchored next to the Chevron Jack/St. Malo deep-water oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Luke Sharrett.

Analysts said bidding was driven by interest in lower-carbon crude from the Gulf of Mexico as well as uncertainty about the timing and conditions of future sales, which are expected to come with higher fees and stringent requirements.

In total, 33 companies participated, lodging 317 bids for 308 tracts spanning 1.7 million acres (688,000 hectares), according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Not since 2014, when West Texas Intermediate crude was priced around $80 per barrel, have more leases been sold at a single Gulf of Mexico auction, according to bureau data...

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